Changed minds and demographics may contribute to shift in national opinion about gay marriage

A national survey says the country views same-sex marriage more favorably because of a shift among people who know someone who is gay or who have changed their views as they grow older.

The Pew Research Center poll also finds that a large group of younger adults are more open to gay rights and are driving the numbers up. The issue grabbed the national spotlight recently with the public embrace of same-sex marriage by Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio.

Overall, the poll finds 49 percent of Americans favor same-sex marriage. That includes 14 percent who said they had changed their minds.

When asked why, almost one-third said they know someone who is gay. A quarter said their personal views changed over time.

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